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Israel is a hot mess

There are so many better ways to handle this situation that don’t involve inconsistency, hypocrisy, randomness, or illogical busy-work
Israeli elementary school students wearing protective face masks at school in Tel Aviv. (Chen Leopold/Flash 90)
Israeli elementary school students wearing protective face masks at school in Tel Aviv. (Chen Leopold/Flash 90)

Israel is a hot mess. And as a mother with four kids, a dog, and a husband currently in isolation because of an inaccurate text message, I can say, I too am a hot mess.

The difference is, when Mama is a hot mess, she is stained, sweaty and might have toilet paper stuck to her shoe as she runs from school pick-up to doctor’s appointment, homework and bedtime — but that only affects her and her (embarrassed) immediate family, and maybe some drivers on the road or venting in line at the supermarket.

When Israel is a hot mess, there are strikes, angry citizens protesting, crazy high rates of unemployment, out-of-business signs everywhere, police with masks not covering their noses, and a detached government that pockets their overpriced salaries and fights over possible new elections, instead of focusing on their constituents and their needs.

We are a week before the New Year, and while we are all hoping for true renewal from this sh*t show that has become our daily routine, I think more than hoping for a vaccine, we are hoping for a miracle.

Hi. If you are a parent then you and I are both playing Russian roulette, the Quarantine version.

Hello, if you are considered to be in the over-a-certain age checkbox or in the high-risk sector of society, then you too are rolling the dice.

Hey you, government official, it’s time to take off your mask…and not the one below your nose, but the farce between your vision of Israel’s future and your bank account.

When the people of Israel suffer and the Health Ministry can’t answer basic questions, we’re in serious trouble. Hence, the need for a Rosh Hashanah miracle.

Today, my husband called the Ministry of Health again. He is appealing the text message he received about exposure to a person with COVID-19. Since, at the time they claim he was exposed, he was in fact not near anyone for more than five minutes (the rules state you have to be near someone for at least 15 minutes to be exposed). He is effectively on house arrest and tortured by the ministry’s hotline, where elevator music goes to die.

After waiting a half hour on the first call, he was informed it would take three days to check out the text and his appeal. Here we are three days later and 10 calls in, and we are informed the process now takes four days and that it didn’t start on the first call, but rather the next day. By the way, the text message came a week after exposure, so he will have served four days out of the requested seven, for nothing…just because…ISRAEL IS A HOT MESS.

The system is broken, and yes, I do think I could do better, and would be happy to put my money where my mouth is. ‘Cause I think you, the readers, feel the same way. There are so many better ways to handle this situation, that don’t involve night-time curfews, because we aren’t teenagers trying to sneak out to go to a late night movie, and we don’t need our temperature checked at the mall because that guy coughing got in anyways. My kids don’t need a health form because someone just tested positive and the school is shutting down, despite the parent’s guarantee that the child felt fine.

How about working as a team and protecting our elderly and at-risk brothers and sisters, by keeping them at home out of harm’s way? What about giving kids the opportunity to have experiential learning, where they are taught by out-of-work entrepreneurs, chefs, tour guides, and everyone else that could use a bit of cash right now? Why not open up theaters and have people sit far apart, if you have a plane full of people sitting side by side? Or instead of giving us subsidies, you give out funds to help create new business models to cope with the situation?

There is a way to take the hot mess and turn it into a challenging success. Is that a miracle, or a fair expectation of our leadership? 

About the Author
Larry David once said, 'I'm not an inventor. I'm an improver. I improve things that are broken.' Whether it’s improvisation, comedy sketch, or stand up, Molly Livingstone is improving life in Israel one chuckle at a time, with an honest and hilarious view of the Holy Land.
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